7 days in Paris - itinerary

Jan 23rd, 2011, 06:46 PM
  #1  
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7 days in Paris - itinerary

My husband and I (newly wed, late 20s couple) are planning a 7-day trip to Paris arriving 31 March (Thursday) and leaving 7 April (Thursday).

- interested in a relaxing and romantic trip (flying to Rome from Paris, so itinerary can't be physically taxing)
- on a budget but willing to splurge on must-sees and must dos
- not really an art-lover but would love to see some museums
- interested to attend one wine/cheese tasting event
- interested in doing a Paris walk (off the beaten path, mix of art, history, trivia)
- not really just the "see and take photo" type of travellers (would love to get immersed somehow, feel parisian life) but would still want to see the best sights.

-planning to stay in St. Germain Des Pres area

Some things to do currently on my list:
- Versailles
- Siene river cruise (not sure which is the best one to take, with great views of the Eiffel Tower)
- watch Paris Can Can
- Louvre
- Eiffel Tower
- Montmarte morning walk
- attend wine/cheese tasting (any recommendations?)
- maybe attend on supper/lunch club event

Have so much other stuff in mind but would love to know what you think to come up with my 7-day itinerary. Thank you!
jean_claire is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 07:51 PM
  #2  
 
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Invest in a good guide book, which you can find some good recommendations on this site as well as Fodor's competitors. There is a "Paris for Idiots" book that I found _very_ helpful. Suggest you read on eor more of these guide books and come back to this forum with more focused questions - hard to recommend anything to you as your quesiton is very broad.
Watching a Paris CanCan? Not sure what you are looking for here. The Moulin Rougue is still in operation but most feel it is not recommended.
Plan on one whole day for the louvre - just about anyone you ask will say Louvre plus this museum or that museum - all are wonderful but no one is a must see. My favorties were the Musee D'Orsay and the Rodin Museum - both in the 7th - and I'm not much of an art lover myself, but these museums are really very much fun to see. The Hotel Invalides complex will appeal to the guys and is recommended, Guys will also like the very fine French Aviation Museum at le Borget. Shppoers will lvoe a day strolling along Ave. Hauptman, even if jsut to wwindow shop. Walks thourough the St Germain, Marais and Montmartre areas are fun.

One idea to see the Paris for Pariseans, is once you get there , to ask where the street markets are and when they are open. Most are open during hte morning, which is usually time when Honeymooners are trying to catch up on their sleep
so if you like this ideas you may have to be more careful to plan other activities.

Versailles is nice but some posters feel it is more trouble than it is worth as it is a bit over an hour to get to/from and the crowds can be a bit much. Depends on how bad you want to see it. Finally, you may find that towards the end of the week you may be feeling a bit saturated on Paris. If you start to feel this, consider a day trip by rail to a smaller city; Chartes, Rouen, Orleans, Reims, have all been highly suggested on this forum.
I'd say that on a honeymoon the seine river dinner and a trip to the top of the eiffel tower are musts.

Again, start with a Guide book as an idea generating resource, then come back with specific questions.
docdan is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 04:49 AM
  #3  
RJD
 
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I agree with docdan's recommendations. Get a good guide book, visit the Rodin and forget about the Can-Can.
I would add that a morning walk in Montmartre while it sounds romantic can toun ou to be very touristy and not the real Paris at all
RJD is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 04:51 AM
  #4  
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Fat fingers added the above before I was finished. Perhaps a walk in the Marais would be nicer for you.
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Jan 24th, 2011, 05:19 AM
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How lucky you are to have 7 wonderful days in Paris! A search of trip reports on this forum will give you lots of ideas. And many people ask for "What to do for (blank) days in Paris" and get helpful responses. Get a guidebook or two from your library to see which one appeals most.
Getting a good feel for Paris is best accomplished by a lot of walking and cafe-sitting between visits to major attractions. And don't forget trips to bakeries for delicious pastries.

After 7 trips to Paris, my favorite sites are Musee D'Orsay, Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, the Trocadero and Eiffel Tower, the Musee Rodin (the gardens and their statues are great), Invalides, Luxembourg Gardens, the Tuilleries and the Orangerie, the Louvre and Seine walks. WIth 7 days you may have time for day trips so Versailes, Giverny and Chartres are great ones.

Our favorite Seine cruise is the Vedettes du Pont Neuf which departs from a small island reached from the Pont Neuf. We like to leave while there is still a bit of daylight and watch the lights of Paris come on - you will see why Paris is called the "City of Lights". The cruise provides a great view of the Eiffel Tower.

I agree that the Moulin Rouge is not worth a trip. Montemartre (IMHO) is not a favorite but the views of Paris from there are spectacular.

We are foodies so, for us, planning good restaurants is really important. There is lots of delicious food in Paris that is not terribly expensive. Search this forum for ideas. Finally, we always stay in St. Germaine and love that area for the ambience, the window shopping and the cafes.

Happy planning and have a wonderful trip. Come back here often during your planning with lots of questions. You'll hear from all of the Paris lovers.
mamcalice is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 06:04 AM
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I like your itinerary. As some others have suggested, I would add a walk in Montparnasse/Luxembourg Gardens and Moufftard Market if you have time.

Chartres has an amazing church and is a sweet town but that might be for a longer trip?

When you are in Monmartre, get up to the Sacre Coeur Church and see Paris below.

Have a great time and please do a trip report!
TDudette is online now  
Jan 24th, 2011, 07:50 AM
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Well, this is a start, but you do need to get a good guidebook and flesh it out.

Forget the can-can bit.
Parisians don't do wine and cheese tastings. That's an American habit. You can go to a dégustation at a wine bar or store to taste wines, and you can go to a fromagerie and they will let you sample cheese, but the whole "wine and cheese" tasting thing isn't French.
The Seine cruise is a good idea, and there are several companies. My favorite is the Vedettes du Pont Neuf - you can google it and get a discount coupon to print out and take with you.
I have no idea what you mean by lunch/supper club event.
With one week in Paris, I would pretty much stick to the city. Versailles is a good daytrip, but so are Chantilly and Senlis, Fontainebleau, Auvers-sur-Oise, Ile des Impressionistes, and others. But Paris will keep you busy. You need to read up on all the different things there are to see and do there. Your list so far is meager.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 24th, 2011, 09:00 AM
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I don't know if this is what you have in mind by supper club, but we really liked it. We met a lot of nice people: fellow travelers, ex-pats and a few locals.

http://www.jim-haynes.com/

Plus, he and my husband are both former hippies (but is one ever really a "former" hippie?) from Southern Louisiana, so there was that connection, too...

I came across this last week while doing some research. It's not cheap, but there is a wine & cheese class.

http://cooknwithclass.com/

Happy planning.
YankyGal is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 01:50 PM
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Here's my trip report, which you might find helpful, but this was our second visit to Paris so it omits some of the first time things like the Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame, etc. Also, keep in mind that a good part of the Musee D'Orsey is closed for renovations. Bon Voyage!

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...n-brussels.cfm
smrt2 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 04:00 PM
  #10  
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Thank you everyone! I have actually read a few online guides the past weeks, but was just overwhelmed with the endless possibilites. I have noted your suggestions here (including day trips out of Paris) and will keep on reading.

Was thinking of cancan just for a different experience (perhaps my husband will like it, wink wink). But I'll read up some more.

StCirq and mamcalice, i have stumbled upon Vedettes du Pont Neuf several times. Is this a dinner cruise? Is the food any good or will it be better to just grab dinner elsewhere after?

Which day would be best to visit Versailles to avoid the crowds? Would you recommend we take a guided tour, or stroll the grounds leisurely?

Would you recommend to grab dinner/cocktails at the Eiffel Tower? Perhaps Jules Verne or Altitude 95. We're after the experience, but also after value for money.

On the supper clubs, I have read about Jim Haynes but some reviews say the food is not that great for a "donation" of around 25Euro. Can you please share a bit more of your experience, YankyGal?

Anyone of you ever heard or tried www.lunchintheloft.com or http://hkmenus.com/ ?

My husband and I love wine (though we just go by what tastes good and don't really know anything about tannins, saying nutty, oaky, chocolatey...if you know what I mean). But I had a chance last September to visit Hunter Valley in Australia and do some wine tasting which I really loved. I guess I was thinking of having a similar experience together with my husband. StCirq, any bars in mind where we can get this dégustation experience? We're rookies, as in rookie rookies, so we'd like very friendly sommeliers (or bartender, for that matter) who will not be rude and will welcome really basic and even stupid questions we may ask.

Anyone tried wine tastings at http://www.o-chateau.com/?

Guidebooks: Rick Steves, Frommer's or Fodor's? I guess most will say Fodor's...

I hope to hear from you all. I will keep in touch and will update my itinerary as I progress with my research.
jean_claire is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 03:09 AM
  #11  
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@smrt2 - just read your trip report! great restaurant tips. Will definitely try Gerard Mulot as we'll be staying in the St. Germain area. Your trip was in 2006, i hope the prices haven't changed that much...
jean_claire is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 04:57 AM
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Jean Claire,

Many of the Seine cruise boats have an option for dinner. We have never tried dinner on a boat but many on this forum say it is definitely not worth it. The food is much better (and less expensive on shore. I can't quite figure out how one would eat while cruising as there is so much to see!
mamcalice is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 06:06 AM
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jean-claire, I went to Paris for the first time last May and was immediately hooked. I am planning another trip this April for my older sister and me, and one of the things we are planning is a wine tasting with O Chateau. I did this by myself (last year's companions had no interest) and I loved it.

The place itself is only a few blocks from the Louve and located in one of Louis XV former wine cellars and the ambience is perfect. I chose the lunch tasting, so we had an assortment of smoked meats and cheeses as well as generous pours of a sparkling wine, 2 reds and 2 whites. We also received a short course on French wines and although I work at a winery here at home, I learned a lot. I am planning to make a reservation for my sister and me.

Great fun and thoroughly enjoyed the presentation, the wine, the food, and the interaction with a number of couples from all over the world. There were probably 12 or so at the tasting. I would greatly recommend it.
Loisde is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 06:19 AM
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I agree you will like O-Chateau. We had a wine tasting with the proprietor Olivier a few years ago in Paris when he was still doing wine tasting events from his apartment. Perfect English. Very accessible wine tasting style. We really enjoyed it.
laurie_ann is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 06:53 AM
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Oh goodness, no, you don't go to Jim Haynes' for the food! It's all about meeting people and interacting - everyone there, in one shape or form, LOVES Paris. Jim is quite a character and I always appreciate a good character.

When we went, his French friend cooked up some meat loaf and mashed potatoes, and I must say, he did a darn good job with the American fare! Wine is out of a box. This is not a gastronomical expereince, it's a social experience.

I loved Hidden Kitchen. Excellent food, service, company. You should think about booking soon, though - they fill up fast.
YankyGal is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 07:16 AM
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I second the recommendation for O Chateau for wine tasting. I did a basic 20 euros/1 hour class that was fun, relaxed and informative. They seem to have great staff so I'm sure some of the more elaborate options are fun, too.

You might be interested in one of the Fat Tires tours? From their website I notice they seem to have some type of partnership going with O Chateau, too.
http://fattirebiketours.com/paris
Sidny is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 08:17 AM
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jean_claire: I am totally not even sucking up here, but the Fodors Paris 2011 guidebook is truly excellent imho.

I've been to Paris five times, but I'm going again in May and it's already given me a lot of new ideas about what to see and do. And it's well organized by arrondissement, with the major sites, dining and shopping marked in each.

Rick Steves is a mixed bag - he provides great walking tours and a lot of in-depth info about museums, but he covers a lot fewer sights overall and his hotel and dining options are extremely limited (and not really to be trusted from what I'm told). His little sketch maps are kind of silly too. He doesn't even try to be truly comprehensive, and it shows.
cheryllj is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 01:22 PM
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Don't let Cheryl get away with that - she is totally sucking up - JUST KIDDING!!

Here is my thinking on the idea of dinner cruise and/or food in Eiffel Tower or some other gimmicky thing: Remember that a meal in one of these venues is a missed opportunity to have AMAZING French Food in a Real French Restuarant. If you cruise these forums and on-line guides, you'll notice notations that various restaurants specialize in this region or that: "Auvignion" "Provence" "Savoyard" "Corscican" etc. These regional differences are wonderful to explore. You may want to try a different theme each night and go to the restaurant recommendations you see for restaurants that are of good value, speciallizing in these various regions. (oh, yes, with lots of wine from the various regions) Many will be within walking distance from a location in St Germain. I believe this will allow a much more enjoyable experience without trashing your budget, and you can still do the Tower/Cruise/Etc when not eating.
docdan is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 02:30 PM
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hi jean_clair,

just my two penn'oth - i would strongly suggest getting a museum pass for most if not all of the time you are there. rather than spending a day at the Louvre [a very good way to become exhausted and fed-up IMHO] it will enable you to dip in and out, and by-pass all those queues. plus if you fancy 30 mins looking at Rodin - there you are or a quick flip round Sainte Chapelle - no problems.

ditto transport - if you are there for a whole week from sunday to sunday say, you might want to get the pass that lasts for a week starting on a monday. otherwise, just buying "carnets" [metro/bus tickets bought in packs of 10 tickets at a time] as you go may be the best option.

have a great trip!
annhig is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 04:44 PM
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I second the vote for the Paris Museum Pass. It helped us tremendously in time saving. We only had four days to work with and we could not have seen half of what we managed to see without having the pass.

I also vote for the Vedettes Pont Neuf boat ride. It really was very nice.

We did Versailles in about a half day. It was a short train ride from Paris and the Palace is very close to the train station. The best time to go is when the fountains are running in the gardens. Not sure if they operate the fountains in April. The gardens are spectacular. The Palace itself can get overwhelming due to the crowds.
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